The Angels will welcome left-hander Jason Vargas back from the disabled list tomorrow. And not only is Tommy Hanson the odd man out in the starting rotation, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports that he has been demoted to Triple-A Salt Lake.
Such a move would have been unthinkable just a couple of years ago, but Hanson is a shell of the pitcher he was when he first came up with the Braves. With his velocity on a steady decline, the 26-year-old owns a 4.92 ERA in 52 starts since he first started dealing with shoulder issues in 2011. The Angels took a chance by acquiring him from the Braves for Jordan Walden over the winter, but he has an ugly 5.59 ERA over 13 starts this season and a career-low 6.9 K/9.
Hanson is making $3.725 million this season and will be arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He’s looking like a non-tender candidate.
The Yankees’ 2019 run ended in heartbreak on Saturday night when, despite a stunning ninth-inning comeback, they fell 6-4 to the Astros and officially lost their bid for the AL pennant. Now, facing a long offseason, there are a few decisions to be made.
One of those falls on the shoulders of outfielder Aaron Hicks, who told reporters that he “thinks he can continue playing without Tommy John surgery.” It’s unclear whose recommendation he’s basing that decision on, however, as MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch points out that Tommy John surgery was recommended during the slugger’s most recent meeting with Dr. Neal ELAttrache.
Hicks originally sustained a season-ending right flexor strain in early August and held several consultations with ElAttrache and the Yankees’ physician in the months that followed. He spent two and a half months on the 60-day injured list and finally returned to the Yankees’ roster during the ALCS, in which he went 2-for-13 with a base hit and a Game 5 three-run homer against the Astros.
Of course, a handful of strong performances doesn’t definitively prove that the outfielder is fully healed — or that he’ll be able to avoid aggravating the injury with further activity. Granted, Tommy John surgery isn’t a minor procedure; it’s one that requires up to a year of rest and rehabilitation before most players are cleared to throw again. Should Hicks wait to reverse his decision until he reports for spring training in 2020, though, it could push his return date out by another six months or so.